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My great-grandmother’s name was Anna Vatnik or Vatnikovskaya; she was born in Slonim (now in Belarus) not far from Bialystok, and was an only child of Abraham and wife’s name unknown. Anna was married to a yeshiva bocher named (Klebansky from some unknown location, probably in Lithuania), but we know nothing of his parents or siblings. His first name may have been Getsel or Joseph. Anna’s parents gave them their dry goods shop in Slonim to manage.

Their youngest daughter, Sophie, was my grandmother. Sophie had a brother Isaac, and 3 sisters, Jeannette, Roza and Mary.

Anna divorced Getsel about 1905 (what a shanda!!), remarried Shlomo Zalman Cheifetz and moved with him to Volkovysk, then emigrated to Petach Tikvah, Palestine in 1922. Getsel/Joseph ran off with his bookkeeper (the reason for the divorce), and may have had additional children.

Jeanette became a dentist and immigrated to Chicago about 1905, followed in 1912 by my grandmother. The others stayed in Russia. Isaac became a physician in the Soviet army. Roza committed suicide circa 1912 over a love affair gone wrong. Manya married and had a son (husband’s last name unknown). Grandma never heard from Manya or Isaac after World War II, and we assume they perished in the Holocaust.

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